Home » Featured Sports Performance Articles » Neuro-Typing and the Future of Individualizing Athletic Performance: Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode 77: Christian Thibaudeau

Neuro-Typing and the Future of Individualizing Athletic Performance: Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode 77: Christian Thibaudeau

Today’s guest is coach, writer and speaker Christian Thibaudeau.  If you are familiar with T-Nation, and don’t live under a rock in general, you are likely aware of Christian and his work on strength and human performance.

Although Christian is often looked at as a bodybuilding type coach, he is very much a strength, power and athletic performance coach, and a great one at that.  If you haven’t read his book, “Theory and Application of Modern Strength and Power Methods”,  you are really missing out on some great work in the realm of explosive athletic preparation.

In the last few years, one of the biggest areas of intrigue for me, and possibly the biggest “game changer” I’ve been utilizing in coaching is that of neuro-typing athletes.  I started with the Braverman test several years ago, read the “Edge Effect”, and then recently I’ve been listening to some of the new work that Christian has come out with on the level of neuro-typing focusing on three general athlete classifications, five in total, that really make great sense when considering what has worked, or hasn’t worked, for me or athletes I coach.  I’ve been devouring everything Christian has written on the topic, and it has made true changes in my coaching for the better.

The five types coach Thibaudeau will discuss are type 1A and B (neural/dopamine types), type 2A and B (muscular/adrenaline types) and type 3 (serotonin type).  This podcast goes in depth into individualizing training programs based on these types, and how to get the best results you possibly can for each individual. In addition to this podcast, you can learn more about Christian’s training ideology and neuro-typing concepts on his site thibarmy.com.

Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.


Key Points:

  • Christian Thibaudeau’s background as an athlete and how it has impacted his role in neuro-typing
  • The neuro-typing system, and Christian’s evolution of that system to his athletes
  • Neuro-types as described in coaching mannerism and types
  • Why some explosive athletes need to be stronger in the weightroom than others (and vice versa)
  • Different responses to various speed training setups, based on athletic type
  • How the different neuro-types respond to training frequency, and why
  • Neural charge circuits and how they assist athletes in restoring neurochemistry
  • Complex training and potentiation between the neuro-types
  • Neuro-types and single set training protocols


“Anxiety creates tightness, especially in the flexor muscles”

“The main difference in the type 1A and 1B is the strategy the use to overcome a resistance… the reason for that difference is the acetylcholine level”

“The 1A’s strategy is to produce maximum tension, the 1B’s strategy is to use maximum impulse, maximum starting strength to create momentum to overcome the sticking point”

“If you are sensitive to a neurotransmitter or hormone, your body does not need to maintain a high level of that neurotransmitter or hormone at rest”

“Athletes instinctively do what works for them, and they push it to the extreme”

“When I was training as an Olympic weightlifter; the coach was a national level coach and used to working with top level athletes, and we always started the workouts with 15 minutes of jumping”

“Those who are naturally built to be explosive need less strength work”

“Type 1A’s and 1B’s are best built for frequency”

“If you are doing anything explosive, anything heavy, anything skill related, anything competitive, you are triggering a dopamine response”

“(Regarding complex training) Higher acetylcholine levels allows one to switch their focus from one to the other”

“2B’s need more assistance work to get stronger”

“For type 1a, heavy lifting before practice will enhance performance, for type 2b, it will be explosive lifting”

“There is a difference between doing one all-out set on a fresh muscle, and an all-out set after prefatigue from warmup sets”

“To me, tendon resiliency is the main benefit of (the 1×20) protocol”

“The more volume you do, the more likely you are to produce cortisol, so the benefit of the 1-set protocol is that you minimize cortisol release in training”

About Christian Thibaudeau

Christian Thibaudeau

Christian Thibaudeau has been involved in the business of training for over the last 16 years. During this period, he worked with athletes from 28 different sports. He has been “Head Strength Coach” for the Central Institute for Human Performance (official center of the St. Louis Blues).

His specialty: being a generalist. He assists his athletes to develop the necessary qualities to increase their performances (eg: muscle mass, power, explosiveness, coordination). His work method enabled him to lead several successful athletes in a multitude of different disciplines.

Christian is a prolific writer with three books published, each of which translated into three languages (The Black Book of Training SecretsTheory and Application of Modern Strength and Power MethodsHigh Threshold Muscle Building). In addition, Christian is co-author with Paul Carter in a new book, which will soon be released. He is also the author of two DVDs (Cluster TrainingMechanical Drop Sets).

Christian is also a senior author and head writer for the E-Magazine T-Nation his articles are read by over 200,000 people every week.

He competed in weightlifting at the national level as well as bodybuilding, He was also a football coach for 8 years.

As a lecturer he has given conferences and seminars in both the United States and Europe, to audiences ranging from amateur athletes to health professionals and coaches of all types.

Christian Thibaudeau popularized the Neurotyping system. Neural optimization supersedes hormonal optimization because the neural response affects the hormonal response. This is essentially the founding principle and inspiration behind Christian Thibaudeau’s Neurotyping System. The bottom line is simple: you are more likely to train hard, be focused and stay motivated if you like the type of training you are doing, and a training that goes against your nature causes a greater stress response that hinders optimal progression. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein


  1. Brandon dean Green


    Fantastic. Now I have a question. Can or does training and/or pharmacology change
    your individual “type”? I recall Charles Poliquin and his “Chinese 5 Elements” and he mentioned
    that pharmacology and/or training can change things. Now not completely but let’s say a wood
    becomes a “fire-wood” something that would be between the two.

    • Brandon,

      I’d definitely imagine so! Steriods enhance the neuro-chemistry of an athlete, so I could most definitely see them taking say, a 2A to a 1B in terms of training response. I’ll see if Christian has a thought on this also.


  2. This was my favorite podcast. Absolutely fascinating. I listened to it 3 times. My wife and son (hurdler) both also listened and started matching athletes I’ve coached or that they have trained with to the neuro type. Then we got into an agreement, they said I was 3 because I pack my race bag a week before the competition and i tried to convince them i was a 2B.

    • Jody,

      Thanks! Christian’s work is really amazing, I’m getting his certification, and I can’t wait to start applying the methods to speed and power/track and field specific development. It’s awesome to think of less athletes getting “left behind” through a one-size fits all method. Interesting with your experience, and it’s a lot of fun to match athletes up here!


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